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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saturday nights!

Giving gratitude is easy!  I hope everyone is passing it on, I have had some absolutely wonderful emails, why wait to tell someone you love them? 

So tonight I am giving thanks to Saturday nights.  When I was a little girl in Mabou Harbour, Saturday nights meant fiddle music and trips to Glencoe.  Glencoe was the small, close knit community where my mother grew up, population, 50?  Maybe, lol.  But the people that grew up there, always returned for church at a small, picturesque church that stood alone in the woods, next to a hall that saw more meals served for funerals and weddings than all of us combined have seen in our entire lives.
Dad would play fiddle tunes all the way up to Glencoe, and on the way back, usually classic country, George Jones, Charlie Pride, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson.  But as I hit my teenage years, there was a station that came to us all the way from Prince Edward Island, and on Saturday nights they played all the oldies, Elvis, Buddy Holly, the Beatles, Marvin Gaye, and the Righteous Brothers.  I fell in love, and a tradition was started. 

Through my high school years, Saturday nights were still filled with music, some nights on the bumpy roads to Glencoe, and then later, with friends, at their houses, or at dances.  At college, Saturday nights were filled with music, we were lucky enough to go to a college where bands were brought in on a regular basis, but we were also surrounded with talented musicians.  It was nothing to us to go to someone's room on a Saturday night and make a case of beer last while listening to someone play the guitar and sing, or play the fiddle while we danced.  Looking back now, it was something we took for granted. 

And then I got married, and some Saturday nights we were too broke to go out to dance on a Saturday night, so my hubby would turn on the stereo and we would dance in the kitchen.  I loved our Saturday night dances, and he will still take me in his arms and waltz me around the room....well, he doesn't right now, but I know when he is back on his feet he will sweep me off mine again.  LOL....good thing we keep our sense of humor.

Our boys came, and some Saturday nights Tim worked shift, and would not be home.  On those nights, I would put on Disney soundtracks, and give the boys their bathes and dance our way to exhaustion, before I would tuck them into their beds....until they creeped over to mine to cuddle. 

Now are Saturday nights are still filled with music, it is a tradition we have kept, and we listen to a mixture of things that the boys like, but Cousin Brucie's Saturday night show on satellite radio is a favorite of mine, as it has great stories from real people who love music as much as I do, and Cousin Brucie is the ultimate lover of music and genuine it makes his show touch your heart week after week. 

The other thing I am grateful for are my Saturday night memories, I got to enjoy many Saturday nights with my sister-in-law, Michelle, and her kids before they moved from here in Fort McMurray to go back home to Cape Breton.  I loved our nights sitting on the deck enjoying music, good food, and the kids running around.  And while I miss them terribly, I will treasure the time that we had, the times we have to come instead of being sad that they are not here to make more memories together.

So on this Saturday night, I hope that your night is filled with music, good friends, family and wonderful memories.  I gotta run, Shayleen wants to dance!

Friday, October 26, 2012

My thanks today, new and old.

I absolutely have the most fantastic thanks to give today!  First of all, and foremost, I want to thank and give gratitude to my friends.  I have a wide variety and mixture of friends, and I am so lucky to have them all in my life.  I have some friends who we really don't keep in touch any more, sure we are on each other's Facebooks, but we don't get to see each other due to distance, but even though we are separated by miles, and do not speak very often, there are some friends I know I can pick up with right where we left off.  There are some girlfriends with whom I might not speak with for months or even years, but we still send each other messages when we know we might need a pick me up, or a cyber "high five". 
And there are other friends who I have never met.  Yep, never.  We have a connection online, and we support each other in our loves, such as writing or food, and it has grown from there, and we support each other in our every day lives. 
The friends that I have in my life are a treasure, and since I suck so bad on the phone, and with making every day small talk, they are really special for putting up with my quirky ways.  So love and kisses are being sent out tonight to my friends, old, new and virtual.

Second for the day, I am thankful for Matt Minglewood.  Now all my friends are laughing, because he has been a staple in my life every single day now for the last 34 years or so. Tonight I drove Mitchell and some friends to Gregorie, and on the way home I had the Live At Last Cd blasting all the way home, while I wiggled in my seat at the stop lights and sang at the top of my lungs right along with Matt.  He has been there for me when I danced with my husband on our wedding night, when my boys were born, on sleepless nights with Shayleen, and most importantly, he provided the entertainment for some of the most fun nights I have had through my lifetime....with my friends, dancing like fools, and laughing like we had no cares.  Thanks Matt, I will always love you.

Third, I am thankful for some things that we all take for granted every day.  Grocery stores, running water, and shelter.  Again, you can ask my friends, I have always wanted to travel to Africa since grade three to raise awareness for the plight that many people face there, like lacking such things as food, and safe drinking water.  Next year, another friend of mine, Blake Crossley will be traveling there with his son Nathaniel, who has raised money for wells in Africa.  I will live vicariously through them, and when they start raising money next month for their trip, I will share with you what they are up to so that we can all help them make their dream come true.

Fourth, I am thankful for good books!  I started my Friday book review tonight, and I honestly had forgotten how much I love sitting down with a good book, and having another one ready when I am done.  Books are my way of traveling, discovering, and seeing a different point of view about life and every thing about it.  They bring me to new countries, and help me learn, but even better, they make me forget about all the regular every day "stuff" and they whisk me away for a while.

Lastly today, I am thankful for clean, nice sheets.  I changed ours today, and I am already looking forward to the way they will feel tonight when I crawl into bed on this snowy night in Fort McMurray.

I hope this reminds you of something you are grateful for, or even better, a person you are grateful for, and go ahead and tell them!

My Friday Book!

So every Friday for the next three months I am hoping to have a review up of a book that I have read during that week.  To kick it off, where would I go but to Cape Breton?  My first book that I read this last week, and would love to share is Her Mother's Daughter by Lesley Crewe.

Crewe hails from Homeville, Cape Breton and she has a wonderful ability to develop characters who are just like your neighbors and even some family members from Cape Breton.  And the characters in this book are no different.  You fall in love with some of them quickly, while others you want to see them put in their place. 
The opening of the book sees two sisters living two very different lifestyles, one had run off to New York, by way of Toronto, while the other sister remained at home to look after their mother and her daughter.  But life often brings many twists, and they see their lives colliding together, and of course, memories, and old stories are brought up, as are old feelings and new drama. 
Bay has had some terrible things handed to her through out her lifetime, and the hits just keep coming.  But I don't want to ruin the book by telling you too much about it. 
I will tell you that I loved it, I love when I see myself in characters, and that happened with this book.  When I finished reading it, I immediately went to the computer and ordered Lesley's new book, Kin, and I can't wait for it to arrive! 
You never know where you are going to find an author that you will really like, and I fell in love with Crewe when I read Relative Happiness, and I keep picking up her books ever since.  I hope you will enjoy her book as well, and if you live in Fort McMurray and are interested in reading it, drop me a note and the first one to respond can pick it up here!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Something new!

I have given myself a few new challenges for the next few months, and I am hoping to keep to the promises I make here on my blog.  My first challenge is that I am going to read a book a week and review it here on each Friday.  My first review is going to be up tomorrow, and it is a fantastic read! 
My second challenge, is a total experiment in life and social media.  I am going to post things that I am grateful for every single day for the next thirty days.  Some things are going to be from my past that have stayed with me over the years, and other things will be the normal every day events that we often overlook.  The reason I am taking on this project is that I feel like I am in a bit of a rut, and I need a reminder of the good things in life, and for the book part of the challenge, I really have gotten away from reading just for enjoyment, and I want to go back to something that I love so much. 
So here we go, my first gratitude day, and I am sure there will be some that you know that I will want to share. My goal is to share at least five things a day.

First of all, I am grateful for my family.   Many years ago, I wished that I would some day fall in love, be married and have children.  Every dream that I had came true.  Thanks for 17 years of married life Tim, and three wonderful children, and many others that have come and gone and have blessed our lives in many different ways.

Second, thanks to my sister, Virginia, for giving me 20 extra years of life.  How do you thank someone enough for giving you the chance to have a family, a chance to travel and experience things you only dreamed of?  How do you thank someone for the bone marrow that created two other lives, and helped support over a dozen children in their little lives?  How do you thank someone for sunsets, walks on the beach, fireworks with loved ones, and new challenges?  Thanks for life Virginia, I love it every day.

Third, I am thankful for my health.  I still have some struggles, and I still get scared sometimes, but every day I am not in hospital and suffering, it is a blessing.  A few times now in the last 20 years I have had periods of being almost overwhelmed with fear about what could happen, but after my last scare, I really thought I cannot live like this, I have to just take every day as it is and enjoy it as much as I can.  So that is what I am doing.

Fourth for the day, I am grateful for good books.  I had forgotten how much I loved a good book, and that feeling of getting lost in the story and trying to cram it into my day.  But a few months ago I saw Jann Arden had given herself the challenge to read a book a week, and I thought about how I use to read a few books a week, and it was never a challenge.  So I have started reading again, just for enjoyment, and am devouring books from all different genres.  I can't wait to share some of my finds.

And finally for today, I am grateful for an evening off!  Ever since Tim's car accident, I have been kind of living like a single parent.  So all of the kids' activities, the shopping, the errands, the every day things like taking the garbage out, and the laundry have all fallen to me.  So tonight, after picking Shayleen up at school, and returning home, I did not have to go back out the door for anything, and I have completely enjoyed the time to cook, sit, read and do some writing. 

I hope that my gratitude will rub off, and you will share your gratitude with someone in your life.  It will make them feel good, and therefore you will feel good, and besides all that, it will be fun!  I am already thinking about some terrific stories that I can share, and hopefully if the people are not on facebook, someone will pass the story on to them for me! 

Until tomorrow.....have a good night!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

How much is too much?

This was probably one of the harder blog pieces to do, and I asked some family and friends how I should approach it.  Through this blog, I only wanted to share my story, not scare anyone, or disgust anyone with details, just share.  So when it came to some of the details, I finally felt that if I left them out then I was glossing over some of the story and tying it up with a "pretty bow".  Aplastic Anemia, and cancer are not pretty.  There is nothing glamorous about it, and you would not wish it on your worst enemies.  So it took me a while, but here it goes.

The few days that followed the transplant were pretty uneventful, except for my glorious visit from Matt Minglewood.  And then somewhere around Day Four or Five, the nurses were just getting ready for a shift change,after supper, when they came into my room to a check on me for their paperwork for the end of the day.  I can still remember the look on the nurse's face as she took my temperature and realized that it was elevated.  By this time, the nurses knew me well enough that I wanted any and all information right away, and I knew as soon as I saw her face that this high temperature was not going to mean for a good night.  She left the room, and was back in short time with a doctor and new bags on my now overburdened IV poles.  Yes, poles, I had two of them to hold everything, and they were my life line and I hated them.  The doctor informed me that they were calling Doctor Neville, but that a protocol was in place for when patients had a rise in temperature, and antibiotics were one of the first things they did.  It could just be a little infection somewhere, or it could be that my body was rejecting the new bone marrow in my body.  So the new drugs were started, and Doctor Neville showed up to check me out himself and tell the nurses to keep a close eye on me for the night.  As the evening wore on, and nothing was really happening, I told Mom and Dad to go get some sleep and I would do the same. 

At around 11p.m. I felt like something was going wrong.  I had terrible pain in my legs, and if possible, I felt even more sick than I had been the last few days.  One of my favourite nurses was on that night, we called her "Little Paula", and she came in and said with all my sweating, that maybe I would feel better with some clean sheets on the bed and some warm facecloths to rinse my neck and face off.  Once I started to sit up, I knew I would continue to throw up, so I asked Paula and another nurse to help me to the bathroom.  With all my contraptions, a walk to the bathroom was no easy task, but I got there, and back to the bed, but once there, I started getting violently sick, and I hit the clean sheets.  I was so humiliated, here the poor nurses had just cleaned the bed all up.  By this time it was almost 1a.m., and I was feeling worse and worse.  Another call was put into the doctor, and the nurses asked if I wanted to call my parents.  No, I did not want to wake them up, so I insisted the nurses not call them. 

And then for a 19 year old girl, who had lost so much in the last few weeks, it felt like I lost my pride altogether, as I continued to be so sick, I lost control of my bladder and bowels.  Now let me tell you, if this has never happened to you before, you are blessed.  It is such a humiliating experience.  I was still a self-conscious teenager, who was horrified every day that nurses, doctors, cleaning staff, and even visitors all got glimpses of various parts of my body and backside.  More funnier stories on that to follow.  But I was off to the bathroom again, this time, bawling my eyes out with humiliation as the nurses tried to help me get cleaned up.  As they helped me and reassured me that this happened to everyone, I remember looking at them and thinking they were saying that just to be nice.  I had never heard anyone describe such a horrible experience as part of their having chemo.  By the time they got me back to bed again, I felt like my heart was struggling, and I felt as weak as a new born kitten.  The nurses later told me that they thought they were going to lose me that night.  After asking me again, I agreed it was time to call the hotel, I wanted my mom.  I am sure it was probably one of the worst drives she and dad ever took, as they wondered what was waiting for them, as I had seemed okay when they left earlier.  Mom was white as a ghost almost upon her arrival, and poor Dad looked so lost as to what to do.  By this time, I was so exhausted, that I would fall asleep to only wake up violently throwing up again.  It felt like the longest night ever, and finally around 4a.m. I asked mom if she thought I was going to die.  She doesn't like talking about death, and she waved her hand slightly and said, "Of course not, this is just the chemo, you need to say some prayers, and you will be fine."  I don't know if I believed her or not, but I do remember thinking I was so humiliated that I did not want to go through another night like that one.  And I remember thinking that this was not how I wanted to live the rest of my days, so violently sick, it was no life, so if God was ready to take me, I was ready to go.  But that was in that moment, and in the morning, when I felt a bit better, I told God I changed my mind, I still had some more to do.